BIERBAUM, CHARLES BURTON, First Lieutenant, # 0-540131, USAAF

 

Charles B. Bierbaum was born on 6 October 1914 in Tracy, Lyon Co., Minnesota, to Charles Fred Bierbaum (1885-1954) and Mary Winifred (Evans) Bierbaum (1891-1949) (Canada - naturalized). A brother was Robert Evans Bierbaum (1926-2004).

 

He registered for the WWII draft on 16 October 1940, employed by the Commander Larabee Milling Co., resided at 3636 Garfield Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota, and described himself as 5’10 ½”, 145 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. After enlisting, he completed flight instruction through advanced schools, was multi-engine rated, and earned his commission and pilot wings. He was sent overseas through India to China, assigned to fly the C-47 Skytrain. On 18 August 1944 a C-47A Skytrain, # 42-108930, assigned to 14th Air Force, 27th Troop Carrier Squadron, Yunnanyi, China, departed its airfield on a combat mission to resupply troops. It was shot down by enemy aircraft southwest of Mangshih, China, at about 1600 hrs. It was last seen by Capt. James G. Owen Jr., 0-669779. The C-47 was located and 6 of 7 bodies found (that of TSgt Holmes not found). The C-47, at about a hundred feet, banked to allow kickers to push cargo out, was hit by groundfire. SSgt Holmes was fatally wounded. His remains were first buried in the American military cemetery in Kunming, China, then brought to the U.S. After recovery, his remains were buried in the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Hennepin Co., Minnesota, on 8 November 1947 (Officers, Sec. B, 295-S). He was awarded the Air Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.

 

His brother, Robert E. Bierbaum, born 18 July 1926, served in the USAAF, Sergeant, from 12 July 1944 to 26 November 1946. He died 30 October 2004 and is buried in the Schroeder Cemetery, Tofte, Cook Co., Minnesota.